While many have documented various aberrational teachings within the modern Christian church, predominantly within what has come to be known as the "word-faith" movement, few have taken a continuing strong position against what is, perhaps, a greater danger to the church at large. Many are familiar with persons such as Benny Hinn or Kenneth Copeland who both have very large and influential ministries with global impact. Some are familiar with names like E.W. Kenyon, considered by many to be the true origin of the word-faith doctrines, and his association with the metaphysical movement earlier in this century. However, as the battle continues over this or that fragmented doctrine coming from these "teachers" (which in all good conscience should continue), we seem to take no notice of a source of unsound teaching little discussed and even endorsed by many. I am herein referring to the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible which sells at a rate of approximately 30,000 per year and has been called "The Pentecostal Study Bible".
Many have felt that the impact of Finis Dake’s work has diminished through the course of time since its first publication in 1963. Although the sales of his Annotated Reference Bible have been perhaps greater at other times, his impact has taken on global proportions through the ministries of such people as Joyce Meyers, Marilyn Hickey, Rod Parsley, Creflo Dollar, Ralph Wilkerson, Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Seville, Rita Bennett, and, of course, Benny Hinn. These people have used, endorsed, and, apparently, developed much of their theology from Dake materials. In the case of Benny Hinn, he admitted having taught his congregation from Dake’s Gods Plan forMan to Charisma magazine in the August, 1993 issue (page 25). (It was here Hinn was asked to comment on his statement regarding "nine members of the Godhead".) The legacy and teaching of Finis Dake indeed lives on, then, in these persons. His influence continuing, unabated, multiplied many times over, in books, tapes and now broadcast 24 hours a day on international "Christian" television. The only thing absent from the teaching which continues today, is the name "Dake".
(See: List of other Dake Supporters and their comments.)
Although some of the notations found within the Dake bible may be helpful to understand occasional historic perspectives from which scripture was written, Finis J. Dake has tread into areas of doctrine which not only do not represent the "pentecostal" position, but are found to be contrary to the doctrinal position of the Christian church throughout history. Primarily, I am concerned with what would be considered "major" doctrines" of the church: the Trinity, the nature of Jesus, and the nature of God. These will be the focus of this study, leaving for another time Dake’s teachings of a pre-Adamic world created for Lucifer and the demons, the impregnation of women by demons to pollute the human blood line, Job’s utter sinfulness during his time of testing, and Jonah’s death inside the "whale".
The import of this critique cannot be underestimated. Correct understanding of Jesus (who he is and what he did) and of God (his nature and character) is precisely the line that separates a Christian believer from a Jehovah’s Witness or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. While it is recognized that we have, in many areas, liberty in Christ to hold slightly differing positions on some doctrines (ie: drinking of wine, which day to honor as the sabbath, forms of church government, etc.), it is also recognized that there are central truths within the Christian church which must be held to in order to continue to be "in the Church".
With these things in mind, we will examine the doctrinal position of Finis J. Dake on several points and compare his position to that of the historical Christian church.
According to Dake
Note :: (all emphasis in original quotes). All quotations taken from the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible — Seventeenth Printing March, 1986
The Nature of God —
"He is a person with a personal spirit body, a personal soul, and a personal spirit, like that of angels and like that of man except His body is of spirit substance instead of flesh and bones." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 97, note r)
"He has a personal spirit body… shape… image and likeness of a man… He has bodily parts such as, back parts… heart… hands and fingers… mouth… lips and tongue… feet… eyes… ears… hair… head… face… arms… loins… and other bodily parts."
"He has a bodily presence, and goes from place to place in a body like all other persons."
"He has a voice, breath, and countenance. He wears clothes, eats, rests, dwells in a mansion and in a city located on a material planet called Heaven."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 97-96, note r)
"He has been seen bodily many times."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 96, note r, continued)
"This plainly teaches that God, as well as men and angels, is limited to one place as far as the body is concerned. The doctrine of omnipresence of God can be proved, but not His omnibody. In His body He goes from place to place like other persons."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, O.T. pg. 15, note n)
"Here we have another proof that God receives knowledge of true conditions and becomes acquainted with existing facts." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, O.T. pg 15, note m)
While Scripture is certainly filled with various descriptive language concerning God, these verses have always been interpreted as ways that God has used to explain himself in language we can comprehend as humans. To give literal meaning to anthropomorphic language becomes absurd when considering the many passages of Scripture which speak of God having "wings" (Ps. 17:8), being a "fortress" (Ps. 18: 2), "a hen" (Matt. 23:37) and "a tower" (Prov. 18:10). Metaphoric illustration to describe an infinite being to finite mortals is not only appropriate, it is necessary. Understanding how energy is transferred to heat to make toast can be difficult. The structure of DNA molecules is still beyond the reach of most intelligent people. Understanding an eternal God, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient will only occur on that day when we will know him as we are known, and that in his kingdom.
While it remains unclear as to why Finis Dake should think that a body made of "spirit substance" has need of a "heart" (a muscle whose only function is to move blood throughout the vascular system), it is clear that by insisting on literal interpretations where anthropomorphic language is used, Dake has made God in our image and likeness. Finis Dake realizes, also, that a body which "goes from place to place like all other persons" does tend to create problems with the concept of omnipresence as well. He explains this to his readers on page 81 in his concordance by saying : "God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all present where there are beings with whom they have dealings; but they are not omnibody, that is, their bodies are not omnipresent. All three go from place to place bodily as other beings in the universe do". Using orthodox language to create the illusion of doctrinal correctness, then replacing the accepted definition for one of your own making, is a tactic usually reserved for Jehovah’s Witness’ and Mormons. Mr. Dake, however, rises to the challenge to defend his beliefs using any and all means necessary, including the creation of a new term, "omnibody".
The Trinity —
It is a fallacy "that there is only one person or one being called God."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 1)
It is a fallacy "that there is a difference in meaning of three human persons and three divine persons." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 1)
It is a fallacy "that the Trinity is beyond human comprehension and bewilders the most learned." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 1)
It is a fallacy "that God has no body, bodily parts, or passions like human beings – nothing of a bodily nature." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 1)
It is a fallacy "that Jesus is the one God and Jehovah of the O. T."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 1)
"What we mean by Divine Trinity is that there are three separate and distinct persons in the Godhead, each one having His own personal spirit body, personal soul, and personal spirit in the same sense each human being, angel, or any other being has his own body, soul, and spirit." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 1)
"Is God only one being made up of several persons or beings in the one being? If so, we can conclude that man is one person or being made up of many."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 2)
"The Father is called God, the Son is called God, and the Holy Spirit is called God. As individual persons each can be called God and collectively they can be spoken of as one God because of their perfect unity. The word God is used either as a singular or a plural word, like sheep." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 2)
"Is it any wonder that the Godhead, the Trinity, and the unity of God are so mysterious when we force separate persons to become only one person, all because we do not want to recognize the true meaning of the word one as referring to unity, not to individuality in some scriptures? Men would be just as great a mystery if we forced the meaning of all men to refer to one person." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 281, column 3)
"Christ received all power in heaven and in earth (Matt. 28:18). Someone had to be greater than He was to give Him that power. Who was it (Jn. 14:28)?"
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 280, column 2)
The doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation from which Christianity is built. From Scripture we can rightly determine that : God exists as three persons; that each of those persons individually is God; that there is only one God. To deny any of the preceding statements is to embrace heresy the church has had to battle since the second century. Here again, though, Finis Dake simply redefines the meaning of words to suit his desired end. By redefining "one" to mean that the three (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are one in ‘unity‘, Dake can continue to sound doctrinally correct. Further, suggesting that the word "God" is a plural, "like sheep", allows Dake to cloak his tritheism (belief in three gods) in orthodox language and look himself like a "sheep" but retain his "wolf" nature. (See the creeds below for the historic view of the Trinity).
The Nature of Jesus, the Christ —
Referring to the word Christ —
"Gr. Christos, "Anointed," …Like the name "Jesus" it has no reference to deity, but to the humanity of the Son of God, who became the Christ or the "Anointed One" 30 years after He was born of Mary. God "made" Him both Lord and Christ. The Heb. is "Messiah"." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 1, note a) [This notation has been removed from more recent versions of the Dake bible (sometime after 1990), but rightly reflects Finis Dake’s own position on Christ].
"Sonship with Christ always refers to humanity, not to deity. As God, He had no beginning; was not begotten or He would have had a beginning as God; and was not God’s Son. But as a man, He had a beginning, was begotten, and was God’s Son. In these passages it is clear that there was a certain day when God was to have a Son and the Son have a Father. It was to be in the future from the time the prophets spoke, If sonship refers to deity, then this deity had a beginning on a certain day and He was not eternal. But if it refers to humanity, then all scriptures are clear and we have no man-made mystery of the so-called eternal sonship of Jesus Christ." (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 57, note d)
"This is no longer a mystery when we understand the true "kenosis", or self-emptying of Christ. He retained His divine nature, but limited Himself to human attributes and powers during the days of His flesh" (Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 59, note d)
Under the heading "Of what did Christ empty Himself?" —
"Christ emptied Himself of:"
"Equality with God."
"His authority in heaven and in earth."
"His divine attributes and outward powers that He had with the Father from eternity."
"He was limited to the status of a man."
"He was God’s agent using God’s power of attorney."
"If it became necessary to anoint Jesus during His earthly life, then it proves He did not
retain His former glory and attributes which He had from all eternity when He emptied Himself to become like men in all things."
"He did not claim the attributes of God, but only the anointing of the Spirit to do His works."
"Most scriptures used in doctrine books proving that Christ had divine attributes on earth are statements true of Him since His glory has been restored and do not prove anything during His life on earth. All scriptures related to His earthly life can be explained as referring to the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit and not natural attributes."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 218, columns 1, 2 & 3)
To understand that Jesus was, is, evermore shall be, and was never less than eternal God, is truth only the cultists and heathen would argue. It is the very gospel we preach unto salvation. This mystery which was revealed to us is the very thing that causes our hearts to melt like wax at its knowing. God in all that he is, took on the nature of a servant, humbled by clothing himself in the nature of a man, to live the righteous requirement of the law and offered himself a sacrifice so that through the one man, many would be saved. To make Jesus less than God, at any point in eternity, is to deny his very nature from the beginning of all things. "God" minus anything equals "not God".
The name of Jesus has been called upon as savior by Jehovah’s Witness’, The Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints and others. The separation that exists between those groups and the true, historic and orthodox church is in defining exactly who Jesus is. The Jehovah’s Witness’ deny the deity of Christ and the Trinity. The Mormons represent Jesus to be the "spirit brother" of Lucifer and redefine the Trinity in a way very similar to Dake. Finis Dake claims that Jesus did not have "equality to God" and that the Godhead is really three separate "gods". Jesus said; "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" (Matt. 7:22-23 NIV) and again, "If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well." (John 14:7) To not know who Jesus is in his nature and being, therefore, is to not know God.
On Jesus being "the firstborn of all creation": (Col. 1:15)
"Gr. prototokos, Trans. firstborn (v15), It is used of Jesus the firstborn of Mary and of the firstborn of Egyptians. It means the first one born in the family. It must also be understood in this literal sense in connection with Jesus being the firstborn in God’s family. However, Sonship in this case refers to humanity and not to deity."
(Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible, N.T. pg. 222, column 1)
It must be here noted that Finis Dake uses the same argument, and is in agreement with, the interpretation that the Jehovah’s Witness’ apply to the use of the word "prototokos". While it may be translated "firstborn", the word prototokos carries with it the understanding of pre-eminence in position. Thus, Jesus was "pre-eminent" over all creation, a fact that scripture soundly affirms. If we look to the septuagint (Greek) translation of the old testament, we find that "prototokos" was used in similar fashion to describe the relationship between Ephraim and Manasseh. In Gen. 41:51-52 we read the following:
"Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh…The second son he named Ephraim." (NIV)
It is clear from scripture that Manasseh is indeed the first one born in the family. However, in Jeremiah 31:9, the Lord, himself, says, "Ephraim is my firstborn son." (NIV)
The word translated "firstborn" in Jeremiah is the very same "prototokos". Since we know that Manasseh was born first, either God has made a mistake, or His intention was to indicate the "pre-eminence of position" that Ephraim had over Manesseh. Since God makes no mistakes, we can conclude the latter. This is also the correct understanding of "firstborn" as it is used in Col. 1:15 in reference to Jesus.
The Historic Position of the Christian Church
In order to understand the doctrinal stance held by the church in these areas, both now and during the preceding two centuries, I have chosen, rather than to restate the position from a personal denominational bias of some sort, to provide evidence directly from the documents widely held to contain the position of the church throughout history. While not infallible in their content, these doctrinal statements were crafted and written with great care to ensure proper understanding of the tenants of Christianity. They are here used to compare what the greater church has always believed concerning God and Christ, against what is presented within the Dake commentary.
It is my sincere hope that you will take the time to read carefully the following texts. While the language is at times archaic, these documents are beautifully crafted and exemplify the care and reverence with which the authors dealt with the subject matter. In each is an attempt to codify the truths of Scripture within the framework of the gospel as announced to us through Christ Jesus, our Lord. Correct understanding of our faith, as expressed within these creeds, was of paramount concern to the writers. They understood that nothing short of man’s eternal destiny rests in the balance.
- The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325-381) [Complete Text]
- The Chalcedonian Creed (A.D. 451) [Complete Text]
- The Athanasian Creed (Fourth and Fifth centuries A.D.) [Complete Text]
- Articles of Religion (Thirty-Nine Articles, 1571: Church of England) [Excerpts]
- The Westminster Confession of Faith (1643-1646) [Excerpts]
- The New Hampshire Baptist Confession (1833) [Excerpts]
- Baptist Faith and Message (Southern Baptist Convention, 1925, revised 1963) [Excerpts]
Together, these documents, spanning almost 2000 years of church history, will enable us to see without doubt that Finis Dake is in opposition to the truths of Scripture as they have always been understood in the areas outlined above.
It is important to note that in each of the above sited statements of faith, the question of the Trinity and the nature of God and of his Son, Jesus, are the primary issues dealt with. It is the centrality of importance within those doctrines which caused it to be thus so. How can one come to God in repentance, seeking forgiveness through Jesus, if we do not know who God is, or who Jesus is? It was no small matter to the church for 2000 years, and cannot be abandoned now.
According to Dake, the God of the Bible is a being of definite size and shape, with a body not unlike ourselves, except it is of "spirit substance"(?), while living on a "material planet" called heaven. This "God" can only be in one place at a time and he moves from place to place like other persons. The God of the Dake bible is said to be omniscient and, yet, still needs to gather information from the beings he deals with since he chooses not to know all things. Along with this "God" are two other "Gods", all three united by virtue of their agreement in purpose, yet individual and separate in being. One is known as the Holy Spirit, existing with the Father from all eternity, with his own body, again like ours. The other is a "God" who has no name until he left "planet heaven" to be born on planet earth, and was then known as Jesus, the Son. This Jesus, according to Dake, was not the messiah at his birth, but he became such at 30 years of age when he was then baptized and received "the anointing". During his time on earth, Dake’s Jesus was not equal to God the Father and, so, was something less than God. This Jesus had not the attributes of God the Father, but was allowed to perform miracles by using a "power of attorney" from the Father. Then Dake’s Jesus, who was less than (not equal to) God, eventually sacrificed himself on a cross for our sins, after which time he became fully "God" again and joined the other two "Gods" back on "planet heaven".
Clearly, this is not the God of the bible or of the gospel presented in Scripture and understood throughout the ages of church history. Finis J. Dake has incorporated some of the oldest heresies the church has had to battle, namely: tritheism, adoptionism, and subordinationism through nineteenth century kenotic theology. Seemingly not content with the measure of heresy already obtained, Finis Dake goes on to deny the omnipresence and omniscience of God. Indeed, Finis J. Dake has created "other gods" to follow and "another gospel" to preach, to which we respond with Paul :
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!"
and again :
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." (Colossians 2:8-10)
and again :
"As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God’s work — which is by faith. The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm." (1 Timothy 1:3-7)
In an effort to understand just how those at Dake Publishing would explain the statements within their commentary, correspondencea began with them on Jan. 2, 2001. In the first letter written, they were asked if they would agree with a statement of faith which included the following: "We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, andHoly Spirit."A response was received on that same date from Derrick Germaine, General Manager of Dake Publishing and grandson of Finis Dake, Sr. In that letter Mr. Germaine states; "We agree completely with your email and statement of faith. We embrace the same." However, when pressed to comment on the accuracy of quotes from the Dake reference (Specifically references 1, 2, 6, and 7 under the heading The Trinity found above on this page.) Mr. Germaine did not respond. Instead, a letter was received from a South Carolina pastor and "theological consultant" for Dake Publishing, named Leon Bible. As to the statement, "It is a fallacy that there is only one person or one being called God", Mr. Bible comments, "We agree that this is a fallacy as stated". The letter continues by cloaking aberrant teaching in orthodox language and makes many references to the "three ness" of God. In his summation, Mr. Bible compares critics of the Dake notes to those who criticized Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Wesley and Moody and suggests that "true scholars walk away from the Dake Bible with an awe for the work presented." In this Leon Bible is partially correct; true scholars, indeed, walk away from the Dake Bible.
While I have not found a true scholar who agrees with the writings of Finis Dake, it is not difficult at all to find those who oppose it. Reformed theologian Michael Horton says Dake’s view on the Trinity is similar to Mormon theology and is heretical. In his book, The Agony of Deceit, he states, "The Faith teachers borrowing from Dake’s Annotated Study Bible deny [the Trinity]". Likewise, Hank Hanegraaf of the Christian Research Institute says that, "Dake’s doctrine denies the historic Christian church doctrine that God, in Trinity, is one in essence". George Wood, general secretary of the Assemblies of God, says that "His [Dake’s] opinions are in direct conflict with our statement of fundamental truth."
Complicating the matter of exposing Dake’s teachings is the fact that Finis Dake’s material is supported by organizations like the Church of God (Cleveland, TN), which sells the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible through their printing organization, Pathway Press. When I inquired as to why Pathway Press carries the Dake bible I was told that "they sell quite a few and have had very few complaints" b. How sad that the sales profit to be made is valued above the doctrine contained within the pages of the book sold. The declaration of faith of the Church of God is trinitarian and, for the most part, very orthodox. How they have allowed this apparent contradiction is unknown. I spoke with Dr. Paul Walker at the Church of God Theological Seminary concerning this very issue. When I inquired as to whether he was familiar with the works of Finis Dake, he explained that he not only knew Dake’s material but had been a speaker at Mr. Dake’s funeral. I proceeded to ask why the Church of God endorsed Dake’s anti-Trinitarian position. Dr. Walker tried to insist that my "problem" was really with the Dake family (the publisher), not the Church of God. When pressed for a reason for the C.O.G. endorsement however, Dr. Walker said, "I haven’t heard anyone say things like this about Dake, and I’ve been around for 68 years." Dr. Walker is not alone in his lack of concern. When speaking with Larry Gratreak, a pastor and divisional supervisor for the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, he informed me that several people in his own congregation use the Dake bible. He was unaware of Dake’s position on the Trinity and, after being shown what Dake had to say on the matter, simply looked at me and said, "So, what’s your point?" I asked whether he felt that those members in his congregation using the Dake bible should at least be made aware and warned of its content. His reply was, "No, I’m not really worried about that."
It really should be an easier matter to gain support against these heresies in the defense of orthodox Christian doctrine. Few, however, know quite what to do when faced with the challenge. Included in some of the historic statements of the Christian faith are concerns relating to the purity of the church in matters of doctrine. It has always been considered not only acceptable, but mandatory, that the church maintain, to the highest degree possible, doctrinal purity. What we believe (about God, about Jesus, etc.) causes us to be either "included" within the church, or "excluded" from it. Correction is not to be withheld because, in so doing, we risk loosing the offending brother to the enemy, or contaminating the church by their continued presence. But should we proactively warn our brothers and sisters about the issues, or simply teach the truth passively and hope they hear our message? Many of the pastors I have spoken with tend toward the latter. Some have suggested that since it is unlikely that any of us have a "perfectly pure doctrine", that holding to some of the teachings found in Dake would not jeopardize an individual’s salvation. But, is the question "How far from the truth can I get and still be included within the group called the church?", or should we "Run the race with endurance knowing that only the victor gets the crown?". However we proceed, I’m sure that God will hold each of us accountable to the course we choose.
It should be clear in the above citations that Finis J. Dake departs from the traditional and historic understanding of the Christian faith in several important areas. I have endeavored to include enough material from the Dake’sAnnotated Reference Bible to insure that his position and intention is truthfully represented in each of the doctrinal areas outlined. The question then becomes, how many times must an individual reject the oneness of the Godhead in the Trinity or the equality of Jesus to the Father before we recognize that indeed they are in error?
Once the error is recognized, as in this case, we have an obligation as Christians to speak out against it. This, indeed, is the serious task of the Church. Too many times we have, in the name of not "offending our brother", kept quiet with our concerns. We have somehow begun to value cooperation without correction, restoration without rebuke. But how can there be cooperation and restoration unless correction and rebuke are allowed to be administered in love. It is not a lack of love for our brothers in the church that causes us to take this position of opposition. Just the contrary, it is our desire that "none should perish" that proves our love. Peter was corrected and rebuked publicly for error that would have led others astray if left unchecked. This example in Scripture is no accident. It was not Paul’s "lack of love" or "spirit of intolerance" that prompted him to speak. He was a man who was ready at all times to defend the Gospel of Christ. We are to treat error in the same fashion. To paraphrase James just a bit, show me your love without your works, and I will show you mine by my works. The admonition from Scripture is clear on our position when correcting doctrinal error. It was Paul who wrote to Timothy with regard to this very subject :
"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron….If you point these things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, brought up in the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed." (1 Timothy 4:1-2, 6)
There are those who have indicated that while some of Dake’s work is aberrational, they reference it for some greater understanding of prophecy or subjects less controversial than those dealt with here. However, if Finis Dake does not know the true and living God and our Savior, Jesus, as they are revealed in Scripture, can his interpretation of any passage or verse be of value? Two issues need to be discussed:
1) What we believe about God affects and changes the way we interpret Scripture.
Our conclusions with regard to the teachings of various passages of the Bible will be molded by what we personally believe to be true.
From Dake we could conclude that since Jesus was not equal to God the Father, and since he was simply using God’s "power of attorney", that as born-again, spirit filled believers, we are as much an incarnation as was Jesus. This is exactly what teachers such as Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin teach, and it seems likely that they derived such a concept from the doctrine of Finis Dake.
2) If Finis Dake is correct in his understanding of the nature of God and Christ, then the church, as a whole, has been wrong for 2000 years. This would sound more a claim from Joseph Smith rather than any Christian source.
Joseph Smith is reported to have asked God which church he should join. According to Latter Day Saints, he was told to join none of them for they had all become filled with error. How absurd it must sound to God that we believe him strong enough to create and sustain all things, perform miracles beyond description, provide salvation to his people, and not be able to guard and protect his own Word revealedto us in Scripture.
There was a time when the people, confronted with a choice, were asked, "Choose this day which God you will serve". We must again, now, and as many times as necessary, make that same choice. Shall we serve the three "gods" of Finis Dake who are limited in their attributes, or the unlimited, righteous God of the bible who offers us salvation in his Son, Jesus? We are compelled to reply, "As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord."
It is my sincere hope and prayer that the Dake family, who continues to own and publish the works of the late Finis J. Dake, would take the time to correct the doctrinal errors found throughout the Dake’sAnnotated Reference Bible. As for the rest of his works, it is my sincere hope that they would discontinue there publication and, in so doing, perhaps save many from the confusion and error in understanding that was never their intended purpose.
Until that day, I would urge all denominations at their highest levels, to condemn the writings of Finis J. Dake as undoctrinal, unorthodox, and dangerous heresy. Furthermore, that they would make their membership aware of that position by issuing warnings, in writing, to each of their pastors, overseers, elders, councils, supervisors, and general membership stating in clear language the heretical nature of those same writings.
I leave you with Paul’s final instruction to Timothy, which is really for us as well :
"Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith.
Grace be with you." (1 Timothy 6:20-21)
All of the people mentioned are listed as an endorsement of the Dake Annotated Reference Bible, computer version, (produced by Dake Publishing) on the back of the computer CD cover. I personally verified with Epiphony Software that each of the following quotes was supplied them by Dake Publishing.
“I thank God for the people who produced the Dake Bible. Their hard
work has made it easier for me to teach God’s Word.”
• Joyce Meyers
“If I could put just one tool in the hands of any minister, it would be the
• Ralph Wilkerson
“The Dake Bible is the best reference and study Bible you can get! I have
personally worn out four Dake’s Bibles.”
• Marilyn Hickey
“The Dake Bible helped me build a solid foundation in the Word.”
• Creflo Dollar
“The Dake Bible is one of the greatest literary works ever made for
Pentecostal and Charismatic believers.”
• Rod Parsley
b ) This comment was made to me in a telecom. with Tracy McKinley at Pathway Press as she explained the position of Dan Boling, who is the director of Pathway Press. (Nov, 2000) I have written Dan Boling at Pathway Press outlining Dake’s position on various doctrines and pointing out where they are in direct opposition to the Church of God Statement of Faith. I requested to know his intent with regard to the continued presence of Dake material available through Pathway Press. I have yet to receive a reply.
All material herein © Copyright 2000 Terry R. Wilson and Main Street Ministries (except where noted)
Below is a recent comment (5-29-2011) that was posted to TheDakeBible.com by Terry R. Wilson as a comment to a different article:
Matthew, greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
After reading the comment posted above by evans, I felt compelled to write. (Please feel free to not post this if it’s length is beyond what you allow and consider it simply personal correspondence).
I have heard, over and over again, how the works of Finis Dake may contain some irregular statements, but we simply need to be discerning as we read anything other than Scripture itself as we attempt to study our faith. This sounds reasonable enough and, perhaps in other times, I might have believed it to be sufficient advise in warning of possible error. Unfortunately, the attitudes within the church have been steadily changing as to how they teach and communicate the faith once for all delivered to the saints and have left those who seek the truth of Scripture almost entirely on their own in the area of historic, doctrinal beliefs. Without this emphasis on a solid, biblical foundation of doctrines such as the Trinity, the nature of God, the nature of Christ, the person of the Holy Spirit, salvation by grace through faith (which remains true in my arminian position), individuals within the church are left to “discover” for themselves what our language in these matters fails to communicate simply.
It is this failure of the church in matters of communicating correct doctrine that have raised entire generations in a confused theology and set them adrift in the sea of theological opinions to fend for themselves. It really would be like taking a child and placing before him different things to eat. You can tell him that some of the food is good and profitable and remind him that he needs to be careful to not select the poisonous bits. Without proper training, however, in what the good food consists of and how to differentiate it from the deadly parts, I fear we will return to a now lifeless child who mistook a bad mushroom for one that is good.
Before any think I simply have little faith in the Holy Spirit to correct us and lead us into all truth, allow me to share a short story.
My father and mother had come to visit me for a couple of months back in 1985. After several days with me, my father came to me and said, “You are different than before.” I asked what that might mean and he replied, “You are softer now – more gentle. What has changed you?” I went on to explain that I had simply been spending a lot of time with Jesus, my Savior. Any change for the better that might be evident was simply the work of the Holy Spirit in creating within me a new heart. My dad then said that he wanted what I had. I asked him if he would like to receive it right then, at that moment. Looking a bit surprised, he came and kneeled at my feet and, with tears in his eyes, said he wanted to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior.
At that moment, I knew my father had become “born again”, a new creation in Christ. I spent time with him before he left to go home and taught him as I could. Not long after, he began to surround himself with teachers that held to much of what is espoused from Finis Dake. I wish I had known then what I know now. In just a couple of years, my father began sending me Dake’s books: “God’s Plan for Man”, “Revelation, Expounded” and, of course, the “Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.”
As I began to look through the Dake material, almost immediately I found several major issues at odds with orthodox Christian doctrine. I searched further to confirm my findings and was forced to come to the conclusion that the errors contained within Dake’s teaching placed him squarely and firmly outside the Christian church. Of course, I tried to speak with my father as gently as I could of the errors found. He would simply become quiet and suggest that we should not dispute doctrines that “don’t matter.” When I inquired of his concept of the Trinity, he defended the Dake teaching that God is three separate persons (just like three separate angels or men), that live on a planet in the northern part of the universe and travel about as any one of us would and are only “One” in their “purpose” – not one in number.
In the almost 17 years my father persisted in these teachings, not one pastor, minister, church member or elder ever pointed out the error of my father’s doctrine (and, yes, he made known what he believed, as well as the source of his theology being Dake). It’s true that we each are held accountable for what we believe individually and, knowing this, I cannot fully place the burdon of my father’s heretical beliefs entirely upon the church (or church’s) he attended. Ultimately, we must each stand before the Lord and give account. But, knowing this doesn’t really help me to understand how my father could attend churches with substantially orthodox statements of faith for all those years and never be corrected for believing things which are “another gospel.” My father passed away in 2002 and I live each day knowing I have no assurance that I will ever see him again.
Did the Holy Spirit fail him? Of course not! My voice may have been the only one who spoke the truth in all those years, but I know it was sufficient to convey that truth. His choice to follow the teachings of Finis Dake, rather than sound, biblical and orthodox teachings, were a choice he made himself. None of us are forced to accept the gospel. No, God did not fail my father anymore than He fails in the lives of Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness’ or New Age adherents. We each are offered a choice and must take responsibility for it. I just wish there had been others who would have joined me in warning him.
Rather than think that my father is simply an isolated instance and the exception to the rule, I ask you to indulge one more story.
I have been attending my church for almost 3 years now. The pastor and I have developed what I can only call a deep appreciation for each other and a friendship as brothers in Christ. I have been privileged to be used as part of the teaching staff and have tried to bring more depth to the doctrinal understanding held by the members of the faith we share. During my time here, I have made quite a point of discussing the doctrines of Finis Dake with the pastor. He was really quite unaware of how depraved Dake’s teaching was, but assured me that he and his staff certainly would not teach such things.
It was just late last year (Oct, 2010), after a Wednesday bible study, that I was approached by the worship leader and brought into a conversation about the Trinity. (I wish he had been present when I taught on this very subject months earlier, but God’s timing is not always ours). He explained that he believed that three persons, each with their own spirit body, soul and spirit, lived on a material planet called Heaven. (Alarm bells are now resounding within my head so loudly I can feel the blood throbbing in my veins!) He went on to explain that he felt that, “Dake’s teaching on the matter made the most sense” to him. I told him he really needed to share this thought with the pastor so that he might be provided a correct understanding of the nature of God. He rejected my suggestion.
(Remember – this is the worship leader in my church! He is leading worship to the three “gods” on planet Heaven each week!)
Of course, I spoke with the pastor about the issue and, while I really never was totally secure in the knowledge that all was set to rights, I was told it was and not to worry.
Then, just 4 weeks ago, a woman in the church (who also happens to be the mother of the associate pastor), apparently went to the pastor with some concerns about me. What concerns might those have been? Well, I was told she really may not like my position on Finis Dake and she had held her opinion for quite some time, but now she could no longer remain silent. (For the record, I had not mentioned the teachings of Finis Dake for over a year in any bible study).
Great – now it’s the associate pastor’s mother who would like to be offended that I called Dake a heretic to the Christian faith. If her son doesn’t subscribe to Dake’s teaching, then I certainly assume he would correct her. As he is apparently not providing that correction, I can only assume he is in agreement with Dake as well. I feel surrounded and surprised. How did all this get past the pastor?
The pastor said we should all get together and discuss the issues (to which I agreed), but no meeting was ever set up. Two weeks ago, I withdrew from attending my church. Seems rather odd that I would loose my church fellowship, place of worship and bible study and the pastor I had learned to call my friend – all over the doctrines of a man who had been excommunicated from the denomination I attend. I still hope there might be reconciliation with the pastor, but I suppose time will tell.
My point here is simply this – There is simply no acceptable amount of false teaching that can be tolerated within the church, because once it takes hold, it spreads like a weed in the garden. Am I naive enough to think that any church will be free from all error? Not really any more than I believe my garden will be weed free. But, that doesn’t mean we simply stop picking weeds and decide to make them a part of our garden as if they belonged. Can some error exist in the lives of truly committed Christians who are saved and love the Lord? Absolutely. However, when we stop instructing believers in the doctrinal imperatives of Christianity and, then, allow teachers in our midst who openly defy those same doctrines, then the church has stopped being “the church” – the called out ones, those separated to be holy, the bride of Christ.
I certainly could have just said how dangerous even a little error can be and not to allow it. Somehow, I didn’t feel it would get the point across as well. Sorry for the length here and, as I mentioned, if you would rather not post long bits, I understand completely.
Thanks for your ministry as I am encouraged by your work.
May the grace of our Lord be with you always as you continue to fight the good fight and bring light into the dark places.
Terry R. Wilson
PS – Yes, I am the same Terry R Wilson whose article entitled, “Dake’s Dubious Doctrine”, you re-posted on your site. I hope it has been helpful to yourself and others.